Lewis Pipe Band attend Scottish Championships with help from donation

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Lewis Pipe Band was gifted £1,000 from a community wind farm charity allowing them to attend the Scottish Championships last weekend.

The band headed for Dumbarton last Saturday and were relieved to have the equivalent cost of their coach hire covered by Point and Sandwick Trust (PTS).

Five pipe band championships are held in the UK every year but Lewis Pipe Band usually only attend two because of the exorbitant costs of travel and accommodation for the band and their gear.

As well as the European and Scottish Championships, the UK also hosts the British, UK and World Championships.

Many bands attend all the competitions but, with each trip to the mainland costing Lewis Pipe Band around £5,000, they have to be selective.

There are 12 pipers and 11 drummers in the band, ranging in age from their teens to 70s.

It costs between £10,000 and £12,000 a year to keep the band running, between the costs of attending competitions and keeping the pipes and drums in good order.

Pipe band chairman Sandy Gomez said: ‘We fundraise hard over the winter to get to these competitions.

‘Each competition costs £3,000 or £4,000 to get to and we’re only playing for four or five minutes.

‘It’s more expensive for us, getting on and off the island. Most of the other bands are travelling on a day trip, leaving in the morning and back at night, but we’ve got overnight costs. That’s what adds to the cost of our trips. It’s a lot of money. We’d love to do all five major competitions but the cost is not something we can raise on our own. We’re entirely reliant on public donations – the collecting cans and donations from people like Point and Sandwick.’